This week I introduced the new book, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, to my students. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was first published in 1984 by Chris Van Allsburg. The book included black and white illustrations with only a title and a caption. The story was up to your own imagination. The illustrations have been used as writing prompts for years. The new book features stories written by well-known middle grade writers. Or, as Lemony Snicket would like us to believe, they were all written secretly by Harris Burdick himself. Whatever you believe, the book is a magical collection of model stories.
We read together a story written by Jon Scieszka, “Under the Rug.” In this story, the narrator’s grandmother speaks in idioms. We all laughed together at Grandma, “All that glitters is not gold. Beware the calm before the storm. Those pants make you look fat.” After our discussion, I asked the students to select their favorite idiom and write about it. I wish you could hear the playful sibling rivalry in Brooklyn’s voice when she read her poem, “Back Seat Driver.”
Telling me what to do
Move over here,
Go over there
He might just get hit with a shoe.
Such a backseat driver,
If I do say so myself,
Only a big brother thing
I wonder if his head goes ding
Whenever something falls from above
like a 2×4 shelf.